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Honest and open conversations

Fri 10 Feb 2017

Can you have an open and honest conversation with your peers and, this is the most important one, can you have an open and honest conversation with your manager?

Have a good think about this, don't answer straight away. Let's go through the following scenarios to find out if you can have open and honest conversations.

Can you...

Tell your manager when you are struggling with a task and not feel like you are going to chastised?

For me, as a manager and a technical lead, it is super important to help grow people. We all have times where we don't know something and no amount of searching the internet can fix it. Being able to go to your "lead" and say, "I don't know what to do.." is a good thing for everyone!

Tell your manager when you are being harassed?

This should be a given but if you were to ask a lot of your female colleagues, you will hear a resounding "NO!". This has to do with company culture or "not upsetting the 10x'er". Even though it can cost a lost of money for a company if there is harassment, a lot of people just don't trust their manager to tell them about problems like this.

Tell your manager that they are wrong

Feedback is hard to give and to accept. Especially in some cultures where it is seen as a weird thing. European culture is like that, you give a slight nod and that is it and anything more makes people uncomfortable.

Now imagine getting critical feedback, it can be hard.

Now... imagine telling your manager that you think they are wrong and giving them feedback. This could be at a technical level or it could be at how they are as a manager. Expressing that feedback can be hard. Now... how does your manager take it. Do they get all defensive, do you get defensive.

If you answered No to any of the above, you really need to take the initiative and speak to your manager and tell them that you don't feel there is good opportunity for dialogue and you want to fix this. If they don't want to meet you half way to solve this then you don't need to feel bad that you want a new manager. This could be in a new company or within your company.

Honest and open conversations between your peers and your managers will create an amazing work environment and will allow everyone to succeed. It all starts from trust.

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